Former Giro d’Italia winner killed during training ride after impact with lorry and died at the scene
ITALIAN cyclist Michele Scarponi has died while on a training ride following a collision with a lorry in Italy.
The 37-year-old was air-lifted to hospital but had already died at the scene.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, “dozens of witnesses” were in shock as they saw Scarponi’s head-on collision with a lorry.
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Scarponi was the 2011 Giro d’Italia winner – the second most prestigious race in cycling behind the Tour de France – and was father to two children.
He only finished the Tour of the Alps yesterday, winning the first stage but finishing fourth overall behind British winner Geraint Thomas of Team Sky.
His tragic final tweet said: “Even if only for a day I thought I’d bring home two leader’s jerseys.”
His road team, Astana, described the accident as “a tragedy too big to be written.”
A spokesperson for Astana said: “Our athlete Michele Scaroponi died this morning while he was training on his bike close to his home in Filottrano. Michele was hit by a van on a crossroad.
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“He left a wife and two kids.
“Michele ended fourth in the Tour of the Alps yesterday afternoon in Trento. Then he went home in Filottrano (Ancona) by car with his masseur and was home in the evening with his family.
“This morning Michele went out on his bike for an early morning training and there the tragedy happened.
“We left a great champion and a special guy, always smiling in every situation.”
Mark Cavendish, who has a home in Italy, tweeted: “Absolutely devastating to see the tragic news about @MicheleScarponi. One of the nicest guys you could ever meet. RIP my friend.”
Vincenzo Nibali, who Scarponi deputised to the Tour de France title in 2014 – after Chris Froome and Alberto Contador crashed out – tweeted his shock at the news of his pal’s death.
He said: “I have no words my friend!”
Fabio Aru, Scarponi’s team-mate and promising Italian talent, was equally inconsolable.
He tweeted: “Endless tragedy. There are no words. Rest in peace my friend.”